In life and in football, acting out of ego creates short-term wins. You won that argument with your girlfriend? Feels great now, but she’ll resent you later. You flipped that guy off in traffic? You look tough now, you’ll need therapy later. You convinced the NFL world your mediocre quarterback has a high ceiling? You’ll keep your job for now, you’ll be canned later. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim may have avoided that scenario.
Keim admitted his mistake. Head coach Steve Wilks was incompetent, quarterback Josh Rosen couldn’t play, and it was clear by mid season. Keim, of course, orchestrated that pairing after veteran head coach Bruce Arians stepped down after the 2017 season.
The chain of events that happened after Arians left were as follows: Wilks was hired, Rosen was drafted, Keim was jailed and suspended for extreme DUI and the Cardinals went 3-13 en rout to attaining the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Which makes what happened next all the more impressive. Keim admitted his mistakes. He fired Wilks, traded Rosen, hired Kliff Kingsbury and drafted Kyler Murray with the first overall selection.
How many NFL general managers would’ve been man enough? Not many.
We all knew Blake Bortles wasn’t the guy in Jacksonville very early on. They knew it too. But they stuck with him for five years, and let a great defense rot away in front of their eyes. All in the name of not being wrong.
Ryan Tannehill got a six year tryout in Miami. Six years! Nobody in the front office wanted to admit the mistake, and six years was wasted in South Beach.
The Titans’ front office recently ran out of excuses for Marcus Mariota, but only after four years of throwing for an average of 3000 yards, 17 TD’s and 10 INT’s.
I mean, everybody and their mother knows Mitch Trubisky can’t play. I wonder how long Ryan Pace will try to convince us otherwise?
For most of these front office types, it’s more convenient to maintain the appearance that they made the right decision, than to cut bait, start over and try again. Not to mention, that comes with the risk of looking weak. Something the ego rarely allows for in the NFL world.
Keim put himself at risk of looking weak this offseason. He did look weak. But six weeks into the season, he’s vindicated. Josh Rosen was just benched by a Dolphins team trying to lose. Kyler Murray, meanwhile, just got finished out-dueling former league MVP Matt Ryan.
Guys have big, dumb, fragile egos. They screw a lot of things up for us. My girlfriend has her masters in psychology, and she tells me that one of the main functions of that ego is self preservation. If we didn’t think we were important to the world, we’d have less incentive to survive. In an NFL world of alpha males and machismo, the ego is a key survival mechanism, which makes what Cardinals GM Steve Keim did this offseason all the more impressive.